I Have A Question
We have often, in the past, discussed "free will" in our Sunday School Class. When someone wanted to challenge my views on the matter, I'd always invite them to come to the front and say something like "If one of us is going to get embarrassed, it should be up here....". Everybody would laugh and they'd always walk up front.
Then I'd ask them if he or she did have free will, to which they always answered that they did. So I invited them to float two feet off the floor like a butterfly, or hummingbird. Everybody would chuckle, including my victim, and I'd say I understood.
Then I'd ask them to accompany me down the hall to the bathroom, where they could stick their head into the toilet and breathe water like a fish. I'd say I mean, you have free will, right? They'd admit they didn't have the free will to do that. At least not do it twice.
So we'd formulate some sort of new statement, to the effect that they had the free will to do anything that was in accordance with their general nature as a human being, with the requirements and limitations thereof. To that, everyone would agree.
Then I'd tell them the Bible states "But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised." (1 Corinthians 2:14, NAS) As I read that, man's human nature, in and of itself, does not allow him to comprehend the necessity of, or the means of, salvation.
Then I'd move on to "Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, "Jesus is accursed"; and no one can say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit." (1 Corinthians 12:3, NAS) This seems to say that no one confesses Jesus as Savior, unless that person possesses, or more correctly is possessed by, the Holy Spirit. And that does not describe a natural man. Sounds like God must first regenerate our nature, from the natural, to a new Spiritual nature, which can comprehend things of the Spirit, before we can confess Him as Savior by the Spirit.
Hence, my question: How can regeneration not precede salvation?